Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Are You Being Pulled Into Price Wars?"

G'day friend,

90% of retailers are going to fail. They will crash, burn, and die. But why? What's the reason these companies will go under, their only memory being the occasional patrons reminiscing later, "Man, I sure do miss Jim's Friendly Corner Store."

It's very easy to understand. You'll notice if you pay close attention; just look around.

They Have Decided To Wage Price War
On National Super Powers!



Today, I happened to have been reading "Up The Loyalty Ladder' By Murray and Neil Raphel (I highly recommend this book). The first section goes into detail about prospects. And how they choose where to shop for a variety of reasons. Few have to do with price.

Along these lines, I recall a particular marketing guru (can't remember which one) saying, "If the customer is a price shopper, you haven't given them anything else to measure with." (This might be paraphrased, but you get the point).

You can't fight Wal-Mart. Or Staples. Or even Walgreens. If you're a marketer, or in some service business, you can't fight Servicemaster, Orkin, or Sears.
You can't fight them on the one front you approach instinctively: price.

These are monsters. The Raphels illustrated it perfectly:

"If a large retail corporation with $1 billion in annual sales loses ten Customers who spend $1,000 each, it has lost .01 percent of its business, a number that will barely impact sales. But if a company doing $200,000 a year in sales loses ten Customers who spend $1,000 each, it has lost 5 percent of its business. And that 5 percent may account for 25 percent of its net profits." (Emphasis is mine).

These companies can afford the loss. They can take the blow. You, as a small business owner, cannot. And you WILL lose if you fight them on price, precisely for that reason.

So stop being a price company.

Don't sell because you are a "bargain" or the "cheapest, lowest price" in town. Because I promise, someone like Wal-Mart will cost less and will have a larger inventory. Just like, for carpet cleaners and Sears, they will be able to charge less. They will do ridiculously low fees because it's in their power.

You have to start selling on value. If someone wants cheap, well, you can direct them to Wal-Mart, or the other discount stores in the area. But YOU, you are in the business of value, or selling worth.

So, Wal-Mart has fruits for $1.00 a pound? Great. We charge $3.50 for a pound of bananas, because ours are organically grown, have a proven health benefit because they were not raised in an environment of pesticides, had quality soil and fresh spring water to nurture them before being ripe. They have a clean, soft yellow exterior without degradation. We also take the time to meticulously clean and remove all dangerous micro-organisms which "hitch a ride" on fruits.

Tell me, does Wal-Mart do that for its bananas?

How about Staples? Sure, they have paper, ink, staples, etc, but you have an outstanding "replenishment" program. If someone pays $x for their stationary items, they can receive a x% discount on later purchases, and even set up an "auto delivery" system every month. Every 2/3/4 weeks they receive a package in the mail with a new batch of pencils, ink, paper, staples, etc.

PLUS, because of your joint ventures with printers in the area, your business customers can receive discounts at local printing companies for direct mail campaigns, brochures, etc.
Voila. We just repositioned your office supplies company into a "cater to the busy entrepreneur" company. Now you're the "office assistant.

Try this exercise with your company. Check and see if you are constantly marking down your prices because someone said, " is cheaper."

Over and Out,

Angel Suarez

Friday, July 24, 2009

Are You Afraid To Face The World?

G'day Friend,

This is something not so related to marketing. But extremely important, as a concept regarding mindset, to understand. All entrepreneurs should have a firm grasp of it.
See, this "mindset" is what separates the business owner from the employee, the underling from his superior, the chieftain from lowly thrall.

Perseverance and Courage

That's all. Not wit, not humor, not even mathematical skill. Having the ability to persevere and show courage, in the face of great risk, is the "entrepreneurial trait." I've noticed this lately.

My very good friend and mentor brought it up the other day.

How many people do you see complaining about unemployment? Don't they all say, "Wellll, I ain't makin' no money... cuz' there ain't no jobs!"

This is total BS. And I mean it: that is the type of crap that stinks up a room.

Because It's Totally Untrue!

First off, there are plenty of jobs. Sure, most are sales. And, my friend, there's a reason: everyone wanted those comfy, sit behind the desk, $10/hour jobs!

So guess what happened? Everyone took them. But Hel, those jobs are still around. I've seen a local company hiring by the hundreds.

Second, like my friend said, in the day of our grandfathers, there was no room for "unemployment." You couldn't be employed by somebody? You went out there and STARTED something. You have the ability to take initiative and improve your life.
Nobody owes you anything.

Despite what our new President says, you are entitled, frankly, to nothing. Not the clothes on your back or the food in your stomach.

Guess how you acquire these things and achieve your life's luxuries? Work.

Perseverance - not giving up, even if they kick you in the knees and Pepper spray you.

Courage - approach, knowing they are going to kick you when you're down, Pepper you, taunt you, and tell you there's no hope.

And you know what? You just let all those mockeries roll off your back. Remember them, so you can look back decades from now and have a good chuckle.

You can have it while sitting on the patio of your summer villa, sipping a mug of warm Amaretto with your spouse, enjoying the summer breeze.

Over and Out,

(And To Your Many Successes),

Angel

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lead Junky 'R' Us - Why You Should Try To Avoid Cold Prospecting, Calling, And "Leadless" Sales Work. Period.

G'day Friend,

Recently, I offered to work for a sales company. I figured, "Heck, why not? I like to become familiar with a company's strategies and 'what's going on.'"

So I sent them an e-mail with the best time to contact me and two questions.
Now, I like to think my questions were very reasonable. Here they are:

"How Much Is The Commission Worth? How Qualified Are The Leads?"

ANY and EVERY sales person should ask these questions. Without exception. Ever.
Why? One, you need to determine whether the cold prospecting you may do is worth it. For example: I think cold prospecting for less than $300 is ridiculous. You could find a thousand different ways to fill that void twice as effectively.

With your leads, you should see if they really are leads. Not just names that fit the criteria. If you're going out to deal with someone, they should WANT to deal with you.

If you have under-qualified leads for little commission, I suggest you quit. Your own skills are not in decline - the company is just robbing you of time and money.

Which brings me to the company in question: the response I received was outrageous. Enough so to spur my into writing this entry.

"If you are a lead junky, you're in the wrong spot."

WHAT! If I read that correctly, the man is saying to me, "If you like to waste as little time as possible, only speak with super qualified leads, and make huge sales by dealing only with those who want to deal with you, you're in the wrong spot. This isn't about efficiency."

Now, let me add this: I do understand prospecting. It's fine to do if you have no cash to finance anything else. Hel, getting out there and knockin' on some doors is SOMETHING.

And if he had just said, "Well, not TOO qualified, but the commission is fairly large. That would compensate the time." It might have been more agreeable.

Look, let me tell you something: sales is about wasting as little time as possible and making the most from it.

As Gary Halbert put it: "Maximum Money In Minimum Time." I don't want to speak with 1,000 people who are not interested and waste all that time. These are people who have to be sold. They don't already see the benefit of associating with you.

Anyway, thought I would give my two-cents. Expect another post in the near future, folks, about creating a unique "purpose" for your business.

Over and Out,

Angel Suarez

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Why You Should Still Start A Business, Or Expand An Existing One, Even During A Recession"

G'day Friend,

The other day I was chatting with a friend. During the conversation, he mentioned a friend of his who was planning to start a business. But the man gave up when the economy went sour. And so did hundreds and thousands of others.

Why?

An assumption tossed their dreams in the bin. And they let it happen.
Any assumption without proper research - i.e. a guess - can easily, and quickly, destroy your business. Marketing campaigns can be ruined, product can overstock in the warehouse; bankruptcy starts rearing its ugly head. Now, all your time and money goes down the dirty drain.

But that's a little off base. I want to touch upon what many others did: stopped at the slightest indication of difficulty. So pay attention. What I am about to say is guaranteed to help you navigate and exploit this Recession:

"People Are Not Spending Less - They Want More"

One of my most poignant insights is realizing the market still exists. Stores are still crowded. Video games are still being bought. Concerts are still attended. So again, people still have the same amount of money to spend - and they will spend it - but they want "more bang for their buck." As a savvy entrepreneur, you must figure out to deliver on this silent desire.

Let's take a standard auto repair shop as an example. It typically ranges between $15-$30 for an oil change. This is relatively inexpensive and a norm of mechanics. This leaves a huge vacancy in the market for someone to fill.

Here is Ritch, a mechanic and owner of "Safe Auto Parts." wWen a you ask Ritch for an oil change, he looks you straight in the eye and calmly quotes, "$100."
After the initial heart attack, you might ask him, "Holy -expletive-, why is it so much?"

Comment: you did not say "Hell No" or "Never." You remain interested in Ritch's service... but you need to understand why it is so unusually high.

Ritch smiles and says, "Well, I never use the low-brand oil filter, like other mechanics. It's usually a scam to try and get you to come back for more, because they only have a life span of x days/months/years. I also rotate your tires, patch up any possibly hazardous damages to them, and check your engine to make sure everything runs well. I would hate for you an your family to break down somewhere and for your kids to be at risk. I pull out some of your dents and do some touch up paint, if need be. I know how embarrassing those dents can be and how you might feel when others see them. Oh, and I do a diagnostic. If you have any automotive trouble with any of the things I checked within 12 months, I'll refund your money at no hassle."

What did Ritch just do? Exactly what every other business owner and marketer should. Yes, his fee was higher. Yes, all of his competitors would have chewed their tobacco and spit out another "$30" fee and been done with it. And that is exactly why Ritch is more successful than them.

He didn't go under the market. He went above - and delivered more for less. Can you imagine what a bigger auto repair shop would charge for everything Ritch offered? From experience, I can tell you this - more than $100.

Ritch used the magic of USP and built value in his service by adding the benefit of his labor. "This is this much because of this, which will do this for you...." And then the clincher - a complete money back guarantee.

With this kind of motive power, nothing can stop your business.
Not even a Recession.

Over and Out,

Angel Suarez

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What Is The Fox Eye Approach?

G'day friend,

Recently I was asked, "Angel, what the heck is the 'Fox Eye Approach'?"

This is a good question. Aside from just sounding neat, The Fox Eye Approac is one of the most efficient marketing methods. It's also natural. You don't necessarily change anything about yourself. The Fox Eye Approach is a fluid and simple process. And immensely effective.

When I first conceived this style, figuring out a name was the tough part. I mean, how could I express it? (I'll hit you up with a few examples at the end.)

That's when I came across a very brief story. And not only is it powerful alone. This story clearly illustrates the basis of The Fox Eye Approach. Hel, you could fully implement it, just by paying attention.

Here goes:

One day, a lion, donkey, and fox went out to hunt. After a very successful venture, the lion asked the donkey if he would divide the spoils amongst them.
The donkey made an effort in dividing things evenly into three piles, one for each of the hunters. Afterwards, he proudly displayed the three piles of dead rabbits to the lion… who then killed the unfortunate donkey and tossed his body onto one of the piles. After a while, the fox invites the lion over to make a judgment: the fox had given to the lion every kill, but kept one scraggly rabbit to himself. The lion asks, “How did you learn to count?” The fox replied: “I learned from the donkey.”

Great stuff. There's always something new in that story. Hopefully you picked up on the obvious strengths. You must know your market and know your industry.

You'll be "eaten alive" otherwise.

A few ways to avoid this fate is to:

  • Study
  • Study
  • Study
  • Study
  • or... invest in one of my Profiting From the Past Industrial Reports and have all the research done for you.
That aside, here is one tool to understand your industry. As I've said before: know what you do. Far too many entrepreneurs become confused when you say this to them.

You're not in the diamond industry you are in the luxury jewelry industry.
You're not in the insurance industry you are in the health assistance industry.

Just like when selling product, stop selling what it is. Sell what it does. If you look toward some of the most successful businesses in your industry, you'll find clues. These are your "big winners." Not only should you loosely model after them, while maintaining your USP, but you should get in good with them. Customers like to see good affiliations.

This is why joining and well-reputed organization will also be a boon for you.

Anyway, that should give you some work.

Now get crackin'.

Over and Out,

Angel Suarez

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Understand, Join, And Engage Your Market For More Sales

G'day friend,

Just the other day I was cruising some forums. I was doing this in order to find out if my intended market (writers) had a need for this particular product. While the research isn't done, I'm almost positive of one thing. They don't want it.

How did I come to this conclusion? Well, I asked. And really, that's the only way to do it. You should never guess. If there is a demand in your market, you can ask enough people and find out.

Let me give two examples: I developed a consultation concept for musicians. The purpose was to help them maximize their profits, make some money. I had gone deep planning this service. I was literally juggling titles for free reports and e-books to sell (expect more on this in another post). I had even gone so far and crafted a pay scale, both for me and musicians to collect on. And, all in all, it seemed real nice. I figured it would be an appreciated service, especially since most musicians struggle for cash (Airheads wasn't so far off).

I shot myself in the foot.

Here is exactly what happened: after conducting a study to see whether musicians would want the product, what their preferences would be, etc., I was really horrified. Only 2% (literally 2/100) would even pay for consultation. Most of them felt what I consulted for would be unethical in music. I had spent (not invested; this was a total failure) almost two weeks on this project, only to see it fail miserably.

What happened recently was very similar.

I went about creating a System for writers. Only this time, I had gone farther by halfway writing the free report, sales letter, and recorded audio. I come to discover... writers, at least the fiction ones (my target) didn't want to pay for any sort of "miracle potion." See, I made an assumption in this case. Since copywriters, technical writers, and other such career authors generally spend money on improving their writing, I thought fiction authors would be the same. On the contrary, these folks are actually severely agitated and (at times) very sarcastic regarding self-improvement products. This doesn't make 'em bad, but it does make them very unlikely buyers of a writing improvement/motivational kit.

Again, I had to trash all the work from another fruitless venture. I did keep it all, though, as a reminder. If it serves any purpose, it certainly fulfills that one. As Dan Kennedy puts it in his Time Management book - which I highly recommend - that's time I won't get back. So the effort is made to avoid repeating the mistake. I've done it twice before realizing.

OK now; let's get to the point of how my blunder can help you in business success.

First, make sure you invest ample time in understanding your target market. I mean, right after you have a concept, see if there is a demand. But hey, if you created the product while being aware of the demand, more power to you.

For the rest, this is the first, and maybe last, step.

Second, join up with your market. Get involved. Gene Schwartz's rule is: be the best listener. Once you've started listening, you can proceed to step three:

Engage your audience. By engaging them, you'll become "recognized"; join their ranks.

Here is one method I've found to be enormously effective. Drew Eric Whitman (www.adsurgeon.com) endorses this method.

SURVEYS!

Honestly, it's quick and easy. Hit up a website like surveymonkey.com, sign up for free, draw up a basic survey with a bonus for respondents (preferably something related to your intended product), and send that sucker out. And the best way to do this is forums. Head over to Google, type in a few words specific to your market (i.e. musicians forum, writing forums, dog groomer forums, clown-in-the-hat marketing forum, whatever) and dig into them. Post the link to your survey with as friendly and non-spam like post as possible.

Don't stop there.

Make sure to browse the websites, get a look at the kind of questions people are asking. And even better, get a look at the responses. After you've done this enough times, you, too, can even respond to such questions. At this point, you're engaging the market.

Until next time!'

Over and Out,

Angel Suarez

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Selling Opportunity

"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival." - Winston Churchill

G'day friend,

Long time no see! As might have been gleaned from my last posting, things have been relatively hectic at home. This is perhaps one of the only moments I've had to sit down for a while and share more knowledge with you.

So please - pay attention. I share Gary Bencivenga's (Bencivenga Bullets) view on information: give it to 'em short and quick. I don't intend to "drag" this stuff till it has been bled dry.

As everyone may know, I am very fond of a Customer Rewards system. Winn-Dixie has created an outstanding variation of this program.

What makes this so important? Make them feel special; bring them into the "family."

A membership, customer rewards, frequent flier miles, etc. All of these - tactics.

Will expand on this in a later post!

Over and Out,

Angel Suarez

Monday, March 2, 2009

Knowledge from the Grave


G'day friend,

Well, as my last post indicated, things have been truly hectic. My family, consisting of the wife, daughter, mother-in-law, and, obviously, myself, has moved to a different location, somewhere to seek more comfort. Due to my father-in-law’s passing within the previous house, we felt more at ease by… departing from that location. Things have become more stable, the tears have about dried up.

Recovery is a gradual process; to pressure it will likely cause more harm than good. Rather than “running” away from the flow of emotions, you must seize it – being human, and being alive, means you must face all these experiences. The passing of a loved one, the birth of a child, the process of aging – live every minute of your day as something to look back on. I imagine those people are miserable, the ones who look back on life while in their death bed, full of regret, overwhelmed by grief. All they want to do is keep on going, hoping the next day will bring an opportunity to fill the void. They don’t live for contentment, but for justification.

I really pity these folks.

So now, I hope you won’t make these mistakes. We all have to die – there’s no way around it. Perhaps we are born equal. Perhaps we do all die. What separates the successful from the unsuccessful is not money, it is not comfortable living, it is not any of the things that many wealthy people, myself included, hold in the highest regard. The ultimate, number one goal is satisfaction. Ted Nicholas said it best: “Wealth is a state of mind.”

Strangely enough, there is a powerful marketing secret here. One so very potent, it will not only triple your business revenue – if utilized appropriately – but assuredly magnify your quality of life. I have said it in convoluted ways, twisted it, tugged, and properly made it more difficult to identify in the past. However, I am feeling particularly generous, so I am freely giving you now one of the hidden lessons to be found in my Profiting from the Past™ System. Here you go: find the absolute purpose. FIND… THE… ABSOLUTE… PURPOSE!! Napoleon Hill called this “Accurate Thinking.” I can’t tell how many times supposed “marketers” and business owners forget such a simple tenet. Before you can succeed, know what you’re going to succeed at.

This means you must nail the three graphs:

Geographic – the where
Demographics – the who
Psychographics – the why they are the who and where at

As you should live every day for tomorrow’s approval, you should do everything with your business and marketing for growth and prosperity.
If you cannot look back and say “Good job,” then you need to seriously prioritize.

Over and Out,

Angel Suarez

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Farewell to a Relative

"'Lo, there do I see...
My mother, and my sisters, and my brothers.
'Lo, there do I see...
The line of my people...
Back to the beginning.
'Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them.
In the halls of Hel...
Where the honorable... May live....
..Forever."



Rest In Peace, Orville R. Sexton
Grandfather, Husband, and Brother.
Walk With Your Ancestors


Dear Reader,

I will be absent the new few days for personal reasons. Please expect a new post regarding marketing strategies and development March 2nd, next Monday.

To explain everything briefly, my father-in-law, Orville Ray Sexton, passed away yesterday morning, February 23rd. He had long been battling cancer and fought bravely to elongate his life. Despite the blunders of many doctors for three years, which surely contributed to his demise, Orville was strong enough of a man to push his pain aside and go on.
We will all miss him, but have accepted this to be the cycle of life. We must always push forward, never letting the weight of the past anchor us in place.

Here is a "bullet" of advice: the path to success is tread by those of indominable will.

Regards,

Angel

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Tip For Restaurant Owners

"I went to a restaurant that serves 'breakfast at any time'. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance."
Steven Wright

G'day friend,

This evening, I was urged to start blogging. Since many of the "big boys" do it, I crumbled under the peer pressure.

So damn.

Anywho, I have a particularly special treat, just for my readers, especially any restaurateurs, whom will add incredible numbers to their profits - if they read carefully. What's the secret; what tactic would allow a restaurant to increase... double... triple... or QUADRUPLE its income?

Results marketing. One more time: results... marketing.

Let me explain: most restaurant owners, unfortunately, rely heavily on a few weak strategies for business growth. They are...

A) Word of Mouth (WoM) - Hoping the passerby and family will really relish their meals, then venture out into the world, spreading their good name. Now, I'll preface this by saying every company should encourage WoM - nobody can really deny it is invaluable and convenient to possess. Here is the downfall: innumerable quantities of business owners are dependent on Jim and Sarah telling all their friends about . This is good, but not as a "full-time" or "main" channel. Without a doubt, quite advantageous; it has a place in all marketing... but should never reign sovereign.

B) Visibility - This ties in with A; "visibility marketing" is a very base strategy, however quite beneficial for a restaurant. That being said, I feel a fast-food joint makes the biggest killing using this approach. What you are hoping is drivers will notice your establishment and either drive directly toward you (if hungry) or make a lasting mental note regarding your location. Once they've registered your restaurant, you must now wait till they schedule a date and time to pack the family into a car and return for a purchase.
Personally, I despise it. When your primary customer attraction method is just... being seen, you must therefore base every month's revenue on hope. Not science, not precision. Hope, faith, prayer... etc. Not to downplay the value of possessing such leverage, since it certainly adds to one's income, but is far, too, precarious as a "main" maneuver.

That's it. On the odd occasion, Olive Garden will run a thirty second commercial, but otherwise... nothing of any substance. Nothing you can measure.

NO newspaper advertisement
NO magazine advertising
NO direct response
NO internet marketing
So on and so forth.

In light of this, I have been "called" to action. One guaranteed method of generating more revenue... is by incentivizing your customer base.

My advice is simple: find a way to "sell" people on why they, while engrossed in their daily activities, must reserve time and money in order to eat your food. Emphasize why your restaurant is spectacular, how you can provide for them a lasting experience, or how you provide outstanding service and affordable food.

Find your edge!

Are you selling stacks of ribs at a BBQ style outback, with tons of families chomping down? Do you want to see a couple swooning each other over expensive wine in candlelight?

Decide what you want to see in your restaurant, determine how to do it. It is important to specify your market. This is how you create repeat customers.

Here's an idea: let's say you're targeting blue-collar markets. Do a bit of digging; find blue-collar interest publications. Call the advertising director and figure out what percent/how many are in your region. Do this s-e-ve-r-a-l times; find meetings, magazines, newspapers (if you are living in a territory rife with your audience), and any other such HIGH CIRCULATION releases.

I also recommend including discount coupons in your ads; remember what we said about "incentives"?
This will help you to quantify how many customers you should, in a realistic calculation, have by the expiration date of said coupons.

Over and Out,

Angel R. Suarez